The Social Side of Super Term

group of student

Making friends at Solas night club.

Super Term, a 2-week residency on campus, kicked off with a meeting of the Weekend Executive and Cross Continent MBA classes of 2012. During the joint term, the two groups bonded and elected to take advantage of a few extracurricular activities. From soccer matches and basketball games with students of both programs, to nightly brainstorming sessions over dinner and beers, the social and networking aspects of Super Term were a nice respite from the intense classes and assignments — we work hard, but we also play hard, as the saying goes. :-)

With classmate Mike Sweetman & Cross Continent student Abe Kim.

After the first week of class, we all celebrated the halfway mark and let off some steam at Solas night club in downtown Raleigh. The school reserved a couple floors to fit all of us — about 250 students total. Buses took us to and brought us home from the venue. There was great food and even a photo booth. Beverages, laughs, and good times summarized the joint event as friendships emerged and tightened. Some of our program managers, admissions counselors, and other Fuqua staff were also in attendance — it was great to get to know some of them better, in a more casual setting. The event set the stage for week two and a closer knit experience between the groups. And thankfully, we had Saturday to fully rest and recover.

As we realized there was only one week to go, both groups seemed to make the most of our time together. The groups mixed well during week two, and by the next Friday, we were all sad to see the Super Term come to an end … We celebrated it though, with a joint program cocktail hour, separate group dinners, and then a joint celebration at Parizade until the late hours of the night.

From an academic standpoint, I think we were all ready for Super Term to finish, but from a social aspect, it went far too quickly! In addition to the Weekend Executive friends I have made and will stay in touch with, I added several Cross Continent students to my list of lifelong friends.

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Moving Through the Program — Literally

It has been a hectic month! I moved two weeks ago, during our Term 4 final exam period, from NC to NJ. I’m still commuting back and forth to NC for work. At the same time, I’m looking for a job that’s closer to my new home. We have welcomed an au pair and are getting the kids acclimated to our new community before my wife begins her doctorate program in August. The move has made me realize and appreciate how much the Weekend Executive program has helped me grow. I feel more efficient and productive than ever! I often find myself wondering what I used to do with all the time that I never realized I had.

The program continues to move along as well. We are gearing up for Term 5, and the first residency is next weekend. We’re also forming teams for our Term 6 electives, which we will take along with Cross Continent MBA students. I am excited for both terms which will likely fly by! Term 5 includes an intensive Leadership, Ethics, and Organizations class, which is a continuation of what we learned back in Term 1. I’m excited about focusing on leadership again because I credit the program’s team and leadership focus for driving my growth, productivity, and effectiveness. Plus, as part of pre-reading, we get to analyze leadership styles by watching movies including “Band of Brothers,” “The King’s Speech,” and “Invictus”… I can handle that! (Check out the Weekend Executive Curriculum page for additional details about our classes.)

On the job front, I made it through three rounds of interviews with my target company and am scheduled for my final round in about two weeks. It has been a stressful process, but a 2010 Weekend Executive alumnus and Fuqua’s Career Management Center have been fantastic in helping me prepare for the interviews. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and talk to you soon!

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Career Crunch Time

I came to Fuqua intent on making a career transition … but then the program began and I quickly let schoolwork, socializing with classmates, and my work/family responsibilities take precedent. Now, however, it’s crunch time!

For those of us making a career transition, we were told from the beginning of the program that we’d need to treat the job search like a fourth class. Now that we’re on the home stretch, I realize why that was good advice. I recently spent two hours at Fuqua, refining my plan of attack with a member of the CMC (Career Management Center). Leveraging the CMC has been essential for me to focus my efforts, and learn how to approach this process. Over the past few months, I’ve identified target companies and pursued leads. So far, it has been quite a learning experience. The main lessons I have taken away is that your personal network is VITAL to success, “HR” at times seems to stand for Human Remains, and in the current economic environment, you have to prepare even further in advance.

I continue to schedule informational interviews with Fuqua alumni within target companies and am searching for openings (which are not always openly listed). The Fuqua alumni network has been fantastic! Everyone I have reached out to has been responsive and extremely helpful. Over the next few weeks, I hope to make some serious inroads to my targets. I will keep you posted of successes and failures … Hopefully, more the former than the later!

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Life, Love and the Pursuit of Craziness

After my class finished Term 3 finals, I used this blog as yet another reason to procrastinate on my all-out attack of the 20-pound FedEx box containing my Term 4 pre-reading! You see, before each term, all the academic prep materials are sent to us at home, with the intention that we review everything before the next term begins.

But I have a few other things going on, too, I currently work as a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch here in Durham, NC, and I decided to pursue my MBA in order to make a transition from the retail side of our industry into a more strategic, corporate role. This seems to be coming along, but with a twist. Currently, my family is in the process of relocating to Princeton, NJ, where my wife will begin her PhD program in June. So, in addition to school, work and my family (I have 3 kids ages 4, 7, and 9), I have taken on the responsibilities of looking for a new job, buying a house in NJ, renting our house here, and preparing the kids for the transition … Oh yeah, and I was training to run the Boston Marathon in April!

I share all this only because, no matter what life throws my way, pursuing my MBA has been manageable, and in many ways, extremely helpful! For example, Fuqua’s Career Management Center (CMC) and my classmates have been a vital part of my job search process. Also, our Decision Models course took our intuitive decision making process, refined and expanded it, and we tested results through modeling and model verification. I have applied some of these course concepts in my personal decisions of what program my wife should choose, renting vs. selling our house here, buying or renting a new house in NJ, and more comprehensively defining what I am looking for in my new career (which I have not yet secured).

All this craziness seems to be a constant, yet exciting and enjoyable part of life right now. As a final piece of encouragement, I was a history major at Bucknell University where I diligently avoided all things quantitative! While the more quantitative coursework has been the most challenging for me, it has also been some of the most enjoyable. So, for any of those fellow liberal arts students out there, take encouragement! You will have to work hard in the Weekend Executive program, but resources are available and you can do it!

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